You know what they say: on Facebook, you are not the customer; you are the product.
Facebook collects our identity and activity (updates, likes and shares) information.
This information is processed by Facebook’s algorithms, and churns out targets for advertisers to promote their products to.
Naturally, Facebook keeps their algorithms secret. Though, much has been made of the potential of social network data for behavioural targeting, and how it can reverse the declining effectiveness of advertising. The promise is that the adverts will be shown to customers that fit the profile, only. That is, advertisers do not waste their money promoting their products to customers that are not interested in them; and users do not have their screen cluttered with adverts that are not relevant for them. It is deemed to be particularly useful to expose users to brands – or even products – that they were not aware of.
So, it is with some… how shall I put it… ‘incredulity’ that I realised that Facebook’s powerful algorithms seem to think that I am a middle-aged, toothless, tunic wearer looking for love.
That’s right. Based on my activity on the social network, I seem to be on the market for dental implants, colourful tunics and online dating:
What about you? Does Facebook ‘get’ you or, like me, are you getting all sorts of weird adverts?